Statement by the President Upon Signing the Health Amendments Act of 1956.
I AM PLEASED to approve S. 3958, a measure which combines into a single bill five health proposals which I have recommended to the 84th Congress.
Three programs initiated by the bill are aimed at the reduction of critical shortages of health personnel. Federal aid is authorized for accelerating the training of public health specialists; of professional nurses qualified for teaching, administrative, and supervisory positions; and of practical nurses.
A fourth part of the bill is directed toward shortages of health facilities. It would extend for two additional years the existing Public Health Service program of construction grants for hospitals and related health facilities. This program, which was amended in 1954 to give new emphasis to building nursing homes and other facilities for the care of the chronically ill, would otherwise expire at the end of the current fiscal year. A two-year extension will assure continuity of the program, pending a careful review of all its provisions.
The final portion of the bill broadens the research grant authority of the Public Health Service in the critically important field of mental health. It authorizes special project grants to support experiments, demonstrations, and studies--with particular attention to projects designed to improve the care and treatment of patients in State institutions for the mentally ill. With half of the hospital beds in the country occupied by mental patients, improved institutional care will bring rewards in the reduction of human suffering as well as in easing the financial burden of long-term hospitalization.
Note: As enacted, S. 3958 is Public Law 911, 84th Congress (70 Stat. 923).
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Statement by the President Upon Signing the Health Amendments Act of 1956. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233000